Middle East satellite TV broadcaster SAT-7 launched its latest channel, SAT-7 ACADEMY, on 1 September. Broadcasting around the clock in Arabic, its top class educational programmes will offer complementary learning opportunities to millions of children and families throughout the Middle East and North Africa who have been displaced by war. It will also provide supplementary learning to millions more who could not afford it – and wider programming that will promote critical thinking, tolerance, and social development.
Dr Raed Moshen, a marital and family therapist, said “It’s about time we had quality television!” Bemoaning the poor psychological and educational content of the few non-entertainment programmes currently shown on Arab language television, he stressed that this was where SAT-7 ACADEMY would stand out. He added, “I am sure this channel will succeed and be a role model for other channels.”
Lebanese Bishop Paul Sayah said, “SAT-7 ACADEMY is offering a holistic approach to education and to all aspects of what makes a whole human being: psychological, academic, and mental. The values it conveys will impact behaviour in ethics, good manners, respect for one another, co-existence, and so on. We need those values in the Middle East … where one rejects the other for not being like him.”
War has forced thirteen million children out of school across the region. Schools that have not been destroyed or closed are overcrowded, and families who flee across borders face many obstacles in accessing schooling in their host countries.
Holistic programming for three audiences
SAT-7 ACADEMY is seeking to overcome this educational crisis, equipping not only children but parents and teachers. Children will receive much-needed academic, emotional, and psychological support. Teachers will benefit from having direct access to the best and most creative teaching methods. Parents will receive advice on how better to raise their children. The channel will enable all three groups to grow their skills in the all-important “three pillars” of education, health and development.
The channel will provide a distinctive range of programmes, such as iNEWS, a youth-presented culture and current affairs show and SAT-7’s existing My School primary school series, which will switch from SAT-7’s Kids channel. Others will be sourced from leading international broadcasters, including BBC Worldwide, which offers access to big budget nature programmes, for example, which SAT-7 cannot afford to make itself.
A 14-episode series entitled Violence in School will show teachers how to counter bullying in schools and will help them to move away from employing physical methods of discipline.
Juliana Sfeir, SAT-7 ACADEMY’s newly-appointed Channel Manager said: “I feel very proud to head up SAT-7 ACADEMY , as it represents the core humanitarian values I believe in most: education and social development.
“The new channel promotes skills, understanding, tolerance and critical thinking and has immense potential. The time is ripe for it, too, for the need is enormous, the dream is colossal, and I hope we will soon see Middle Eastern nations without violence and with creative teaching in their classrooms. SAT-7 ACADEMY is set to play a major role in making this present dream a future reality”.
Alongside the TV channel, SAT-7 also launched an e-learning platform on a new interactive website, www.sat7academy.com. This enables audiences to access programmes on demand, to customise their learning, mark their progress through televised courses and continue where they left off.
SAT-7 Founder and CEO, Dr Terence Ascott, commented: “This new channel and the different online platforms bearing our already trusted name will let us provide essential educational services to many thousands of families who now live in considerable hardship. They will be able to access our learning content from any place, at any moment and, soon, through any device.”
Respected figures in Lebanon’s education, health, media and development sectors have queued up to welcome SAT-7’s new education channel. Specialists in family therapy, clinical psychology, life coaching, cooking and home management joined education directors and school principals to share advice on a wide range of topics. All expressed their excitement about the new channel.
“It’s an amazing idea … for a channel to offer this kind of holistic approach to education. So many people will respond to this initiative and love what is offered,” said Sister Caroline Rai, a renowned school principal.
Marwan Najjar, an acclaimed TV scriptwriter and producer, known for “edutainment” programmes, spoke of his long commitment to educational television and highlighted how SAT-7 ACADEMY would not replace teachers but would reinforce their teaching and enrich it with new resources.
For more information about SAT-7, go to www.sat7uk.org
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Notes to Editors:
Launched in 1996, with its international headquarters in Cyprus, SAT-7 broadcasts Christian and educational satellite television to an audience of at least 21 million people in the Middle East and North Africa, tackling the most pressing and evolving development issues in the region. SAT-7 broadcasts in Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish languages on six channels.
 MENA Out-of-School Children Initiative (OOSCI) overview report, April 2015 <http://www.oosci-mena.org/regional-overview#report>.